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In the recent "Strange Visitor" thread, Odintim said:

 

Of course, Norwegians aren't like many American Christians or elsewhere - they simply do not push their religion on others. Funny, considering there is not separation of church and state here. That's another post for another time.

 

Why the difference? Many European countries support a state church, but from what I've heard their people are mostly indifferent to religion and much more secular than we are in the USA. You know for a fact that if religion was supported through taxes in America (which probably would be Christianity in general, not any particular denomination), most churches would be cramming the "salvation message" down our throats and up our asses, using our own financial support to do it.

 

Some questions to think about:

What causes the secularism of the average European, even though religion is state supported?

If state support of religion were withdrawn, would this have an effect on the citizens of these countries? (As in becoming more or less religious.)

If America went to a church supporting system, would it increase the power and numbers of Christianity? Or would this actually turn people away from religion?

Does state support of religion actually temper the more evangelical aspects of that religion? Does it lead to controlling the religion?

 

I am not in support of state sponsored Christianity (in case you think I'm headed in that direction). I've just always wondered at the religious differences between the continents. Any ideas?

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In the recent "Strange Visitor" thread, Odintim said:

 

Of course, Norwegians aren't like many American Christians or elsewhere - they simply do not push their religion on others. Funny, considering there is not separation of church and state here. That's another post for another time.

 

Why the difference? Many European countries support a state church, but from what I've heard their people are mostly indifferent to religion and much more secular than we are in the USA. You know for a fact that if religion was supported through taxes in America (which probably would be Christianity in general, not any particular denomination), most churches would be cramming the "salvation message" down our throats and up our asses, using our own financial support to do it.

 

Some questions to think about:

What causes the secularism of the average European, even though religion is state supported?

If state support of religion were withdrawn, would this have an effect on the citizens of these countries? (As in becoming more or less religious.)

If America went to a church supporting system, would it increase the power and numbers of Christianity? Or would this actually turn people away from religion?

Does state support of religion actually temper the more evangelical aspects of that religion? Does it lead to controlling the religion?

 

I am not in support of state sponsored Christianity (in case you think I'm headed in that direction). I've just always wondered at the religious differences between the continents. Any ideas?

 

It could be partly to do with the much longer history of Europe. Most Europeans have roots lasting for hundreds if not thousands of years in Europe. In all that time a lot of nasty shit has happened because of religion. And for most of the last 2,000 years since the invention of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church basically ran the continent as a puppet state.

 

Here in the U.S., our country is very young and noone aside from maybe Native-Americans have more than a couple hundred years worth of history (almost none of which experienced under church run government). I suspect a few nasty religious wars and/or a state run church would turn the U.S. off to religion as it did in Europe.

 

That's part of the difference I see in European vs. American views on religion.

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I suspect that all the fundies left Europe as soon as the New World opened up. They wanted to get away from state enforced religion they could practice their fringe cults in peace.

 

Have you ever actually studied what the Puritans believed? Talk about your right wing whackos.

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I think some of it has to do with good old competition. The state-supported churches in Europe didn't have to be exciting and entertaining to survive and thrive. They got all their members by birth and tithes by tax. There was no reason for them to try to win converts.

 

In America, most churches only make it if they can put on a good show. The hotter the flames of hell, the bigger the crowds. Churches had to find ways to attract people and fundamentalism turned out to be a gimmick that worked extremely well.

 

Competition makes other products and services "better" - I think it works for religions as well, at least from their viewpoint.

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I think some of it has to do with good old competition. The state-supported churches in Europe didn't have to be exciting and entertaining to survive and thrive. They got all their members by birth and tithes by tax. There was no reason for them to try to win converts.

 

In America, most churches only make it if they can put on a good show. The hotter the flames of hell, the bigger the crowds. Churches had to find ways to attract people and fundamentalism turned out to be a gimmick that worked extremely well.

 

Competition makes other products and services "better" - I think it works for religions as well, at least from their viewpoint.

 

Great post Tex. I'm sure you are right about that. I never even thought about the competition aspect of it.

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I think it has much more to do with free market competition. Since Christianity is the USA has to compete for attention and money, this drives the multitude of denominations and attendance. In Europe for the most part, Christian churches are like the DMV, they are not required to compete to survive.

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What causes the secularism of the average European, even though religion is state supported?

 

I'm not a specialist, but I've become quite cynical about that topic, and my answer currently is: education.

Where US citizens (as it seems to me) are confronted with the claim to babblical literalism at every corner and lack the educational background to counter that, Europeans hardly ever tend to hear that literalist nonsense and even an educational level that seems ludicrously low to "us" is still above that of the US fundies - judging on how they come across.

 

If state support of religion were withdrawn, would this have an effect on the citizens of these countries? (As in becoming more or less religious.)

 

I can't speak for all of Europe, but pretty much that very thing is currently happening here in Germany. Indirectly.

Because of the shitty economical situation here, more and more people save whatever money they can... and while church tax isn't exactly crushing it is enough for many to think "Fuck that church".

 

If America went to a church supporting system, would it increase the power and numbers of Christianity? Or would this actually turn people away from religion?

 

Probably yes. As I don't see much of a causal connection between the two, governmental support of any religion would support what already exists there but not necessarily change it. Implement theocracy in shrubbenführer's US and the already-existing cults will be strenghtened. Do it in Europs and the advantages will largely go to churches who are pretty liberal to the core, so they can't do that much damage.

 

Does state support of religion actually temper the more evangelical aspects of that religion? Does it lead to controlling the religion?

 

See above, I see no plausible connection between the two. There are some control mechanisms for keeping the churches in line (within constitutional limits) as far as I know, but not that much.

 

I would like to add that this is all a topic I don't have much "hard info" on, so I may well be wrong. Consider my points to be quick shots. ;)

 

That's part of the difference I see in European vs. American views on religion.

 

Good points there :3:

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Good points by all.

 

It could be partly to do with the much longer history of Europe. Most Europeans have roots lasting for hundreds if not thousands of years in Europe. In all that time a lot of nasty shit has happened because of religion. And for most of the last 2,000 years since the invention of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church basically ran the continent as a puppet state.

 

Here in the U.S., our country is very young and noone aside from maybe Native-Americans have more than a couple hundred years worth of history (almost none of which experienced under church run government). I suspect a few nasty religious wars and/or a state run church would turn the U.S. off to religion as it did in Europe.

 

I've thought of that too. Europe has more experience with theocratic governments. Americans also have tended to think of themselves as in a different league than the "old countries". We were to be the new City on a Hill, a bright future for the dark past, separate and independent. So Christianity in the U.S. may have been viewed more favorably as it developed, more "American" than the churches which desended from state religions; and seen as not as likely to fall to corruption. But, please don't tell me that we have to have several hundred more years of history under Uncle Sam's belt before we finally tire of the theocrats rule. I can't wait that long!

 

I suspect that all the fundies left Europe as soon as the New World opened up. They wanted to get away from state enforced religion they could practice their fringe cults in peace.

 

Have you ever actually studied what the Puritans believed? Talk about your right wing whackos.

 

True, the Puritans were the original American fundies. Present day Christian Reconstructionists often quote Puritan authors and ministers. And have you noticed that New England, where the Puritans ruled from, is now the most non-religious (or at least, liberal religious) area of the USA? Maybe that ties in with the idea of how a longer history with theocracy turns people off to it?

 

I think it has much more to do with free market competition.

 

I wouldn't doubt that this is true, too. More variety, less dissatisfaction, more feeling of control. If you don't like what's offered at one shop...er...church, try another one.

 

I'm not a specialist, but I've become quite cynical about that topic, and my answer currently is: education.

Where US citizens (as it seems to me) are confronted with the claim to babblical literalism at every corner and lack the educational background to counter that, Europeans hardly ever tend to hear that literalist nonsense and even an educational level that seems ludicrously low to "us" is still above that of the US fundies - judging on how they come across.

 

I've always considered education to have a big role in this, too. I assume this is because of differences between the education systems of the nations? Or is it the way the people themselves view things? I wouldn't know how to counter this problem, though; each state can have different laws concerning public schools, and while the states have guidelines in place that each local school system has to follow, I think that there are lots of differences between the school districts in how they carry out these guidelines and what other type of learning they allow. For example, when the science class of my former pastor's daughter was going to learn about evolution, she was able to opt out of that lesson. Appearantly Indiana allows you to do that, you just have to study something else science related. (and this wasn't high school or middle school, it was in frickin' elementary school!) A nearby rural/small town school district still excuses students during the school day (not after school) to a local evangelical church for Bible lessons. School buses take them there. You can opt out of the class, but I don't know if these students just have a study period or continue to receive instruction. I was told by someone who grew up in that area that it's mostly only the "Mexican, and therefore, Catholic" students who stay out. Now, how do you think this school district is going to view science, and critical thinking?

 

Speaking of critical thinking, I might add I don't remember that subject being brought up in my schooling. Maybe if I had taken certain classes, like debate? Of course, I (being a typical American student) could have been daydreaming during the time it was brought up. Perhaps that is one difference between Europe and America, do they teach more critical thinking skills over there?

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Hey, who ever thought one of my posts would inspire another? :)

 

I do have some thoughts on this, though most of them were covered - one being further on education. It's not so much with all of Europe, however. I've found many of the Europeans to be DEEPLY religious, some even to the point of being fundamentalist. I can guarantee you that some Spaniards, Italians and Eastern Europeans could give some American preachers a run for their money in apologetics and hellfire sermons.

 

Norwegians are nearly in a league of their own, it seems. First and foremost, they're peaceful pacifists. The crime rate is so low that my soiled American mind sometime wishes for a murder now and then. At least a good robbery. (Kidding!) Albeit, that Munch heist was classic.

 

Secondly, the Norwegians LOVE reading, studying about philosophy, nature, and especially logical thinking and the sciences. You'll find it hard to even convince a Lutheran priest that the earth is less than a few billion years old. Why is there a state funded church here? I don't even think the ones that keep it in place know the answer to that question.

 

Granted, I'm not claiming we don't have our fundies here. There are a good handful. You'll be hard pressed to find many that pay much attention to them, fortunately. Most debates about religion, politics, and philosophy are almost steered towards other countries.

 

OT

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I really do think that education does play quite a part in this... Now, I can't speak for most of Europe, but in the UK homeschooling is very rare.

It might be that the lack of opportunity for kids education to be fundified is having an effect on the population at large. A lot of what kids do learn from their parents is cancelled out by the state curiculum. (sp?)

 

Of course, I might have got the cart before the horse, but back in the 17/1800's the emphasis was on physical knowledge, religion was relegated to around 30mins every morning and saying grace at lunch, (or something like that) and that could well have had one heck of an effect.

 

 

 

 

 

Or that could just be a load of bollocks... :shrug:

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...each state can have different laws concerning public schools, and while the states have guidelines in place that each local school system has to follow, I think that there are lots of differences between the school districts in how they carry out these guidelines and what other type of learning they allow.

 

That's another part of the problem I think. Speaking strictly for Germany, here there is a "central control" guiding major parts of the educational standards of the individual Federal countries, although the countries themselves still have some freedom of decision (which is currently criticized for several reasons). Furthermore, there is no homeschooling here, nowhere, period. And laymen do not have any influence on local curricula - everything is decided on the countries' governmental levels and then handed down as orders to follow or else. Private schools (whether secular or religious in nature) are permitted, but - as far as I know - strictly supervised and regulated so that their curricula can't deviate too much from the Federal country's standard.

I think if the US get rid of these two things (laymen in local schoolboards and homeschooling) there's much to win for reason.

(Naturally this presupposes that the public schools do a decent job on education. Oh well.)

 

Perhaps that is one difference between Europe and America, do they teach more critical thinking skills over there?

 

I dare say that this is the case. Of course I went through the "1st class" education, the Gymnasium (Grammar school), with much more stuff to learn than the "middle-class" Realschule or the lower-class Hauptschule... but as far as I can tell from personal experience, yes, thinking for yourself and developing some reasoning skill was definitely emphasized in my education. ;)

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I am not in support of state sponsored Christianity (in case you think I'm headed in that direction). I've just always wondered at the religious differences between the continents. Any ideas?

 

Europe is a vagina; USA is a penis. That is the first thing I thought. I do not know why.

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That's another part of the problem I think. Speaking strictly for Germany, here there is a "central control" guiding major parts of the educational standards of the individual Federal countries, although the countries themselves still have some freedom of decision (which is currently criticized for several reasons). Furthermore, there is no homeschooling here, nowhere, period. And laymen do not have any influence on local curricula - everything is decided on the countries' governmental levels and then handed down as orders to follow or else. Private schools (whether secular or religious in nature) are permitted, but - as far as I know - strictly supervised and regulated so that their curricula can't deviate too much from the Federal country's standard.

I think if the US get rid of these two things (laymen in local schoolboards and homeschooling) there's much to win for reason.

(Naturally this presupposes that the public schools do a decent job on education. Oh well.)

 

Of course I went through the "1st class" education, the Gymnasium (Grammar school), with much more stuff to learn than the "middle-class" Realschule or the lower-class Hauptschule...

 

Central control would never happen here. In fact, that always has been a big complaint with the right wingers, religious or not; that the federal government is trying to tell state governments what to do about education, and then people complain that the state government is trying to take away their right to educate their children as they see fit. Most people (not just the fundamentalist types) think that parents have the right to decide what kids learn and where they should learn it at. I think all states allow homeschooling, but they differ quite a bit on what is required of the parents. In some, all you have to do is tell them you are withdrawing your child from public school, in others, you have to follow an education plan by the state and even submit testing to the state. Central control would have many up in arms.

 

Thurisaz: You have different schools according to social stratification? Or do you mean "class" as in quality of schooling or, say, college preparatory vs. technical/vocational?

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Does anyone know what percentage of Americans do

homeschool? It's gained some popularity in recent years,

but it still can't be that large. Plus, in some areas of the

USA, the public schools are so bad that homeschooling

may be the only affordable alternative for some people.

While a lot of fundy nutcases are into homeschooling,

certainly, I don't think fundyism is the only reason for it.

 

I think the greater problem is just the horrible condition of

American public schools. American children are dumbed

down by them, turning them into great cannon fodder for

America's many wars and great, mindless consumerists for

America's many retailers. Many studies have shown that

the least educated people people are usually the most

religious - great for America's many Pat Robertsons and

Jerry Falwells. There will be consequences to all this

dumbing down some day, but as long as Americans can

keep whipping out that credit card, they won't care.

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Does anyone know what percentage of Americans do

homeschool? It's gained some popularity in recent years,

but it still can't be that large. Plus, in some areas of the

USA, the public schools are so bad that homeschooling

may be the only affordable alternative for some people.

While a lot of fundy nutcases are into homeschooling,

certainly, I don't think fundyism is the only reason for it.

 

I think the greater problem is just the horrible condition of

American public schools. American children are dumbed

down by them, turning them into great cannon fodder for

America's many wars and great, mindless consumerists for

America's many retailers. Many studies have shown that

the least educated people people are usually the most

religious - great for America's many Pat Robertsons and

Jerry Falwells. There will be consequences to all this

dumbing down some day, but as long as Americans can

keep whipping out that credit card, they won't care.

 

 

Ok, I found little data on homeschooling from a 2003 study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

 

Percentage of U.S. children homeschooled:

2003 - 2.2%

1999 - 1.7%

 

Reasons listed for homeschooling by parent in 2003:

Concern about environment of other schools - 31%

To provide religious or moral instruction - 30%

Dissatification with academic instruction at other schools - 16%

Other reasons - 9%

Child has physical or mental health problem - 7%

Child has other special needs - 7%

 

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf#se...%20america'

 

I suppose the reasons given for homeschooling are worded badly. Depending on how you interpret those results you could gather that somewhere between 31% and 86% of homeschooled students are homeschooled in order to be more thoroughly brainwashed. It definately looks like religion is the major reason for homeschooling.

 

Also, it seems to me that parents aren't scrutinized enough in their ability to teach. I've known a few wacko fundie parents who taught their kids at home who were quite obviously unqualified to teach anything at all.

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I actually know of at least three families that homeschool or homeschooled. Two are religions and finances are involved. Another is an atheist friend doing it for a higher quality education than the American school system can provide (they are Canadian).

 

Yes, the public school system in America is failing, badly. However, they at least don't teach that science (evolution) is the devil trying to get them and that an invisible man in the sky made everything.

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Ok, I found little data on homeschooling from a 2003 study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

 

Percentage of U.S. children homeschooled:

2003 - 2.2%

1999 - 1.7%

 

Reasons listed for homeschooling by parent in 2003:

Concern about environment of other schools - 31%

To provide religious or moral instruction - 30%

Dissatification with academic instruction at other schools - 16%

Other reasons - 9%

Child has physical or mental health problem - 7%

Child has other special needs - 7%

 

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf#se...%20america'

 

I suppose the reasons given for homeschooling are worded badly. Depending on how you interpret those results you could gather that somewhere between 31% and 86% of homeschooled students are homeschooled in order to be more thoroughly brainwashed. It definately looks like religion is the major reason for homeschooling.

 

Also, it seems to me that parents aren't scrutinized enough in their ability to teach. I've known a few wacko fundie parents who taught their kids at home who were quite obviously unqualified to teach anything at all.

 

 

Well, even if 100% of homeschooled children are homeschooled by

fundy nutcases, it is still only 2.2% of the population. That's just too

small a percentage to be a major contributor to Americans' kooky

religiosity.

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I actually know of at least three families that homeschool or homeschooled. Two are religions and finances are involved. Another is an atheist friend doing it for a higher quality education than the American school system can provide (they are Canadian).

 

Yes, the public school system in America is failing, badly. However, they at least don't teach that science (evolution) is the devil trying to get them and that an invisible man in the sky made everything.

 

 

While that's true (for now, anyway), I would say that the

biggest problem with the public schools is that they do not

teach children how to think. Doing so would give

them the tools required to detect major league bullshit

later in life.

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Gnosis of Disbelief Posted Today, 12:46 AM

QUOTE(Chad3232132 @ Jan 2 2006, 02:35 AM)

 

Ok, I found little data on homeschooling from a 2003 study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

 

Percentage of U.S. children homeschooled:

2003 - 2.2%

1999 - 1.7%

 

Reasons listed for homeschooling by parent in 2003:

Concern about environment of other schools - 31%

To provide religious or moral instruction - 30%

Dissatification with academic instruction at other schools - 16%

Other reasons - 9%

Child has physical or mental health problem - 7%

Child has other special needs - 7%

 

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf#se...%20america'

 

I suppose the reasons given for homeschooling are worded badly. Depending on how you interpret those results you could gather that somewhere between 31% and 86% of homeschooled students are homeschooled in order to be more thoroughly brainwashed. It definately looks like religion is the major reason for homeschooling.

 

Also, it seems to me that parents aren't scrutinized enough in their ability to teach. I've known a few wacko fundie parents who taught their kids at home who were quite obviously unqualified to teach anything at all.

 

 

 

 

Well, even if 100% of homeschooled children are homeschooled by

fundy nutcases, it is still only 2.2% of the population. That's just too

small a percentage to be a major contributor to Americans' kooky

religiosity.

 

I do not beleive that this is true since such a relatively LOW percentage of Americans vote. If, say 20% of the population beleives that a canidate is sent from god then that makes up roughly a third off all votes, since on average 60-70% of americans will vote.

 

ANd remember, those 2.2% are going to be telling others how great it is and then the numbers may skyrocket.

 

-Jake

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Ok, I found little data on homeschooling from a 2003 study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

 

Percentage of U.S. children homeschooled:

2003 - 2.2%

1999 - 1.7%

 

Reasons listed for homeschooling by parent in 2003:

Concern about environment of other schools - 31%

To provide religious or moral instruction - 30%

Dissatification with academic instruction at other schools - 16%

Other reasons - 9%

Child has physical or mental health problem - 7%

Child has other special needs - 7%

 

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf#se...%20america'

 

I suppose the reasons given for homeschooling are worded badly. Depending on how you interpret those results you could gather that somewhere between 31% and 86% of homeschooled students are homeschooled in order to be more thoroughly brainwashed. It definately looks like religion is the major reason for homeschooling.

 

Also, it seems to me that parents aren't scrutinized enough in their ability to teach. I've known a few wacko fundie parents who taught their kids at home who were quite obviously unqualified to teach anything at all.

 

 

Well, even if 100% of homeschooled children are homeschooled by

fundy nutcases, it is still only 2.2% of the population. That's just too

small a percentage to be a major contributor to Americans' kooky

religiosity.

 

 

True, what scares me more is that in some states (i.e. Kansas, etc.) 100% of students are now being subjected to religious nonsense.

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Why the difference?

 

A vastly better education system, cultural homogenity, much more mature cultures.

 

That, and the fact that most christians there have adopted a much milder form of christianity that is more grounded in tradition. My European friends see America is a religion factory where anything goes.

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Hi, I'm from Ireland, and there are alot of Christians over here, I should know I'm dating one!!! But I am not a Christian by a long way. I believe that bible is a tool used by the church to ruse weak minded people into parting with their money etc.

 

But back to the point. We have alot of Christians that talk shit and want to ram the bible down your throat and wash it doen with some blood of christ. My girlfriend was that bad.... But when I talk to Christians and ask them, 'Why did you become a Christian' I am usually answered with one of the following:

 

1. I was raised by my family to be Christian (i.e. Taught, forced)

2. I reached rock bottom (i.e. sexual abuse, alcoholism, addiction etc)

 

For the second point, fair play to those who life themselves up and make something of their lives, Well Done!! Just dont go around judging everyon else and preaching that you are right and we are wrong.

 

Just for the record I was raised Catholic but only because that was the Area of Norther Ireland I Lived in. Ask most Ctaholics and they will tell you that they tell more lies in confession than truth!!!

 

AND THATS TRUE!!!!!

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Hi, I'm from Ireland, and there are alot of Christians over here, I should know I'm dating one!!! But I am not a Christian by a long way. I believe that bible is a tool used by the church to ruse weak minded people into parting with their money etc.

 

But back to the point. We have alot of Christians that talk shit and want to ram the bible down your throat and wash it doen with some blood of christ. My girlfriend was that bad.... But when I talk to Christians and ask them, 'Why did you become a Christian' I am usually answered with one of the following:

 

1. I was raised by my family to be Christian (i.e. Taught, forced)

2. I reached rock bottom (i.e. sexual abuse, alcoholism, addiction etc)

 

For the second point, fair play to those who life themselves up and make something of their lives, Well Done!! Just dont go around judging everyon else and preaching that you are right and we are wrong.

 

Just for the record I was raised Catholic but only because that was the Area of Norther Ireland I Lived in. Ask most Ctaholics and they will tell you that they tell more lies in confession than truth!!!

 

AND THATS TRUE!!!!!

 

 

Hi Rising L! Welcome to the ex-christian forums.

 

I agree that many people are Christians simply because of cultural reasons; it's kind of hard to resist if everyone you know is in the church and the entire society is geared in that direction. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Catholic church still hold powerful sway over the government and the people in much of Ireland? And in areas of Northern Ireland, the protestants rule the roost. Either way, sounds like mind control to me!!!

 

And yes, the second reason "hit rock bottom", holds true for many people here in America as a reason to become a Christian. But in a way, that still ties in with the cultural/family influence, as it is often taught that God is the only way to climb out of the hole you dug yourself into. Kind of an AA thing, where you have to reach a point of total helplessness. Now, some do manage to dump their addiction monkeys with this (though I have read that the success rate for AA was under 50%?). But, it looks like it would be a heck of a lot better to teach kids life skills and critical thinking while they're growing up so they could know how to handle peer pressure, stress, sex, preparing for adulthood etc. Education is the key. But... that would put the power to change and control our lives into our hands, not into the hands of an imaginary Jesus...and thus, the church. It's a game of power; the individual, or the church/state/tribe/culture. Power; maybe that is the reason why church and state so often meld.

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Why the difference?

 

A vastly better education system, cultural homogenity, much more mature cultures.

 

That, and the fact that most christians there have adopted a much milder form of christianity that is more grounded in tradition. My European friends see America is a religion factory where anything goes.

 

That about sums it up indeed.

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